Category Archives: Articles

New Scientist defends bad science

Last week I highlighted a pretty dreadful piece in New Scientist, “The chaos theory of evolution,” written by paleontologist Keith Bennett, which pretty much deep-sixed the modern theory of evolution in favor of a buzzword-y evolution that was all about being “fractal,” “chaotic,” and “nonlinear”.  Bennett relegated the role of natural selection to that of a […]

Update on Hauser case: some exoneration?

In today’s New York Times, Nicholas Wade continues his analysis of Harvard’s fraud case against primatologist Marc Hauser.  Hauser, you will recall, was found guilty by Harvard of eight charges of scientific misconduct, which may have included data fabrication, and was put on leave without pay for a year.  Hauser apologized (an excerpt follows): I […]

The late Ernst Mayr speaks

by Greg Mayer Ernst Mayr was one of the greatest biologists of the 20th century, an architect of the evolutionary synthesis, and chief exponent of the biological species concept and geographic speciation. Jerry and I both had the privilege of knowing him. I was fortunate to be able to attend his 100th birthday party in […]

My USA Today op-ed: Science and religion aren’t friends

I got tired of Uncle Karl and those of his ilk filling the pages of USA Today with accommodationist tripe, so I wrote my own op-ed: “Science and religion aren’t friends.” It’s up now though it’ll appear in the paper tomorrow (Monday).  It pulls no punches. The fact that I can even write a 1200-word […]

David Koch and the Hall of Human Origins

by Greg Mayer PZ noted my and Jerry’s pieces on the new Hall of Human Origins at the USNM, and one of his commenters, DavidCOG, points to this piece at Climate Progress (based in part on Jane Mayer’s (no relation) New Yorker article on the Koch brothers), which in turn points to a couple of  […]

Is there life in the Solar System?

by Greg Mayer Matthew recently asked if there is life on Gliese 581g— a newly discovered Earth-like (in some ways) planet (I’m tempted to say “class M planet“).  There’s also the question of if there is life in the Solar System (Earth doesn’t count)– on Europa, or Mars, or Enceladus, say. On the same trip […]

The Hall of Human Origins at the National Museum of Natural History

by Greg Mayer The Hall of Human Origins, a new permanent exhibition at the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of Natural History (aka the USNM) opened last March (at which time I got only a peek), and over the summer I finally got a chance to take in the whole exhibit. Like Edward Rothstein of the New […]

Parting the Red Sea

PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science) is an open-access journal with an unusual mission: Too often a journal’s decision to publish a paper is dominated by what the Editor/s think is interesting and will gain greater readership — both of which are subjective judgments and lead to decisions which are frustrating and delay the publication […]

A misguided attack on kin selection

I don’t know what’s gotten into E. O. Wilson.  He’s certainly the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, and has gone from strength to strength over the years, winning two Pulitzer Prizes, writing great general books on not only ants but conservation and social behavior.  And he’s kept his hands in the ant work, producing any […]

Darwin wrong—again??

You may have seen a small flurry of reports this week about a science paper showing that “Darwin was wrong.”  The paper wasn’t a creationist or ID screed, however—it was a paper in a good science journal (Biology Letters) by a crack team of paleontologists from the UK and Canada (Sarda Sahney, Michael Benton, and […]